Census shows median household income nationally essentially unchanged in 2013, Midwest ranks third for both income and poverty among four regions, via The Plain Dealer:

“Median household income was $51,939 in 2013, in comparison to $51,759 in 2012. The bureau said this marked the second straight year it which there was not a statistically significant change. Yet household income remained 8 percent below 2007 levels, before the most recent recession … Among the four regions, the Midwest ranked third for income at $52,082. Median income was $56,775 in the Northeast, $56,181 in the West and $48,128 in the South. For poverty, the South was the highest at 16.1 percent, followed by the West at 14.7 percent, the Midwest at 12.9 percent and the Northeast at 12.7 percent.”


And that unchanged median household income is one reason that the rent is too damn high, via Mother Jones:

“What happens when you combine a shortage of rental units with lower incomes and less federal support? You get the “worst rental affordability crisis in history,” and a lot of people finding it harder to get by.

The share of households spending more than a third of their income on rent has grown by 12 percent since 2000. Today, half of all renters pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income in rent. For 28 percent of Americans, more than half of their salaries go toward rent.”


The secret life of Rust Belt beekeepers, via grist.org:

“Two years ago, I was just kind of wandering around one of the smaller, cottage neighborhoods that we have here, and I noticed one woman with all this bee art covering her garage,” says Alexandra Farrington, a beekeeper in Buffalo. “I asked her if she kept bees. First she asked if I was a cop, and then she said, ‘Well, if you promise not to tell … yeah, I’ve got a few hives on the roof of my garage.’”


City residents wishing for quick gentrification of their neighborhoods should take a lesson from Berlin and be careful what they wish for: 

“’This cool image of Berlin only has negative consequences,’ says Mayer. ‘These cities competing for their brand is something that is, in many ways, meaningless, but it’s what politicians and mayors worry about, and that’s a consequence of the fact that global capital is looking for global places to invest.’ As Peck points out, the greater the disparity between a city’s income and the price paid by international real estate buyers, the more locals become a part of a service economy catering to wealthy foreigners. ‘You’ve got this secondary market for being cool in real estate,’ says Peck, ‘and it’s increasingly got nothing to do with the things that produced the cool image in the first place.’”


An issue close to our hearts, “If Only Pageviews were Dollars”:

“But how will we pay writers in a world awash in free words? It’s technically feasible to pay writers based on the number of times their work is viewed online. British libraries have long paid British authors a small royalty on each borrowing. In Sweden, published authors are simply awarded an annual income. In both cases, the money comes out of public funds created to sustain a national literature. This may not be politically possible in the U.S. right now, but if the publishing wave of the future is virtual, somatic authors and editors will still need real money to buy physical food.”